The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Can anyone tell The Ear what has happened to The Exclusive Company on State Street? | January 20, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

There is no phone message when you call.

Nothing saying “This number is disconnected” or “This number has been changed to so-and-so.”

Just an endless busy signal.

But there is no business.

There is no sign in the window, either.

It’s obvious that The Exclusive Company store at 508 State Street, in downtown Madison, has been closed for a while, probably since Jan. 1. Just look at the recent photos of the exterior and the of the interior, which is being gutted and renovated. 

Here are the old and new exteriors:

Exclusive Company exterior STATE ST

Exclusive Compnay closes 1

And here are the old and new interiors:

Exclusive Company interior State St

Exclusive company closes 4

When I last checked into the future of the store, the ever helpful manager told me it would be moving to another Madison location away from State Street. And I posted a story about it. Here is a link:

And here is a later story from the Wisconsin State Journal with more background but still no hard info about the store’s future:

Since then, I can’t find out anything.

Even when you visit the Exclusive Company’s statewide website, the old store — with its old address, old phone number and old hours — is still listed. What is the point of having a website if it isn’t updated with current information?

It’s a shame. The store, which sold classical, pop, rock, jazz, folk, world and other music, was around for 24 years. And for 24 years I did business there, especially enjoying the great classical selection when the late Charles Lunde (below) ran the classical section.

Exclusive Co outside with Lunde

All the time I loved doing business there.

And I still want to do business with the store, wherever it is.

But I need something to go on.

A new phone number.

A new address.

A date for opening.

Or even a confirmation that it is gone for good, like the other Exclusive company store on the far west side that closed three years ago.

In the meantime, another store — the Earthbound Trading Company — is going to move into the location and it looks like it will be pretty soon, my guess is in late January or early February.

Exclusive Company closes 3

Exclusive company close 5

So can anyone help me learn the future — if there is one — of the lasting remaining  Exclusive Company store in Madison? A reader? A worker in another branch?

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Jake, even former employees like my son don’t know where Exclusive is going. My gut feeling — nowhere

    Comment by Paul Zukowski — January 23, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

    • Hi Paul,
      Thank for reading and responding.
      That would really be too bad if The Exclusive Company left Madison altogether.
      I really liked doing business with them.
      I hope you are wrong but fear you are right.
      We will see.

      Comment by welltemperedear — January 24, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

  2. From Isthmus in November: Manager David “Peters says the Exclusive Company is looking for a new Madison home. The store is considering another State Street location but a near-east-side location could be viable as well, Peters says. Shapiro [the owner of 508 State St] says he is scouting a new space as well.”

    Comment by Steve Rankin — January 21, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

    • Hi Steve,
      That is the same information that was in my blog about the store moving.
      But I can’t get any current news since then, even from the company’s website.
      Other who know David Peters are working on it and will let me know.
      I will pass along the latest word.
      Thanks for your concern and response.

      Comment by welltemperedear — January 21, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

      • I actually thought I’d read it on your blog, not in Isthmus, but I couldn’t find it when I entered “Exclusive Company” in your archive (only older stories), and when I click the link above it links me back to this page. Sorry for repeating old news.


        Comment by Steve Rankin — January 21, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

      • Ho Steve,
        The original entry was on Nov. 11, 2012 in my blog.
        But you are right — the link didn’t work, even though I am sure I checked it before.
        So I have corrected it and you can now go to the original posting.
        I apologize for the mistake and misunderstanding, and also for extra work you had to do.
        I am sorry to have wasted your time, but I appreciate your deep loyalty as a caring reader who replies regularly.

        Comment by welltemperedear — January 21, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

  3. Jake, you might try Mary Carbine, at the Downtown BID. She ought to know. Her contact info is just below. Say hello to Mary for me. Bruce

    Mary Carbine BID Executive Director Direct: (608) 512-1340 Email:

    Comment by Bruce Croushore — January 20, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    • Hi Bruce,
      A good suggestions.
      I will try that.
      But you would think The Exclusive Company would make it a bit easier to do business with them — if that is still possible in Madison.
      As always, thank you for reading and replying with good and helpful information.

      Comment by welltemperedear — January 20, 2013 @ 10:43 am

  4. I’d understood that the franchise actually began in Chicago, though now it seems mostly Wisconsin-based. You might contact one of the other branches:

    Jim Sobaskie

    Comment by Jim Sobaskie — January 20, 2013 @ 6:48 am

    • Hi Jim,
      Thank you for reading and replying.
      I think you are thinking of Tower Records, which I believe started in Chicago.
      In any case, I like your idea and will try it.
      But consumers shouldn’t have to go to such lengths to find out something this simple, no?
      Happy listening.
      The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — January 20, 2013 @ 10:42 am

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